Intertwining creativity, taste, art

Julia Battishill

The SPU Mailing Services team knows that their service is not noted by students as the flashiest or most impressive. However, the seamlessness of Mailing Services is more intentional than it may appear.

The team, comprised of about 22 people including Elaine Stevens, Gailen Dailey, Allyson O’Brochta and others, says that they are dedicated to making the experience at mailing services as enjoyable as possible, and their team is spearheaded by a passionate captain: Frank Kinard.

Kinard has been at SPU for 15 years, after a significant career with the post office. He places great importance on his work here, and he is determined every day to serve the SPU community in the special way that only mail — to family, to loved ones, to friends, etc. — can provide.

“We feel the work we do here is a ministry,” he said. “Every day, we start with a prayer. We feel that it really sets the tone for the day.”

He knows that the work he does for SPU students, from the small Mailing Services building at the far edge of campus, is much more important than it may appear. He sees his work as an “opportunity to make a difference.”

It is important to Kinard that the experience students and staff have with the mailing services is enjoyable and easy. He is intentional about setting the tone every day for his staff, that the work they do is vital and a ministry like any other, including the way their patrons are treated.

“We want to make sure that their experience of coming to mailing services is really enjoyable. We don’t want it to feel like a chore, like ‘ugh, I have to go get the mail.’ We want it to be a good experience. We care about how we treat the students,” Kinard stated.

Kinard also has a passion that not many people know about.
Most people, he admits, would never expect upon first meeting him that he so deeply enjoys the culinary arts and, more specifically, baking cakes.

It would not be the first guess of almost anyone who does not know Kinard that he spends his free time icing and designing cakes, but it is something he loves unashamedly.

Frank _ Color _ Courtesy of Frank Kinard-

Thus, by a growing passion for baking and decorating, and a determination to continue to improve, Frank A’s Bakery in Coupeville was born.

His bakery is run from his home kitchen, and he is proud to say that his creations are handmade with as much love and care as he can muster.

His website proudly displays cakes and pies that Kinard has designed.

“I observed one day how much better a cake or pie tasted when it was embellished.” Kinard wrote on his website that “tasting a dessert with your eyes before it ever passes through your palette to your stomach was my motivation for the creations I pass on for others to enjoy.”

Previously, Kinard spent 21 years serving in the US military.
During his many years in the military, Kinard faced active combat on more than one occasion. His service caused him to face a very different battle once he returned from conflict: he struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder.

While baking cakes, he says, is slightly uncommon and more than slightly unexpected by most, he finds great joy in the art.

“It really helps,” Kinard said. “It helps me decompress.”
His passion started because his wife had been going to a bible study some evenings and Kinard wanted to find something to do other than watch TV while waiting for her to return.

Frank _ Color _ Courtesy of Frank Kinard-1

“I wanted to learn how to do things and find a hobby. This one day, I saw advertising for a cake decorating class, so I went,” he explained.

As it turned out, Kinard would quickly start to surpass the class’s instructor on almost every assignment. He has a natural talent, he said, and was a fast learner.

“I remembered seeing fancy birthday cakes and stuff growing up, and thinking, ‘It would be nice to be someone who knew how to do that.’ But it wasn’t until I started doodling around and trying it that I saw that it’s really an art form,” said Kinard.

At the end of his first baking course, his instructor told him to do a wedding cake. He worked diligently on it, he said, and the cake he produced impressed the whole class — especially the instructor.

The instructor was blown away by Kinard’s wedding cake, especially considering it was his very first try at such a cake. He praised him for his beautiful design and his effort.

Kinard, however, insisted, “I could do better.”

From there, his bakery was born. And, just like his work in Mailing Services, Kinard loves his job at the bakery.

“Our goal is to create personal cakes and pies that will put a smile on your face and an accent to your event or meal, made fresh with love and care,” says the bakery website in its welcome message written by Kinard.

You can visit Frank Kinard’s website at www.frank-a-bakery.com.